By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The U.S. Naval Academy broke ground for a new cyber operations center on Friday.

The U.S. Naval Academy was the first institution to require cyber security classes for all of its students. Now cyber operations take on priority status.

Just Friday morning, two cyber attacks knocked out major websites on the East Coast.

“The Department of Homeland Security is monitoring the situation,” said Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary.

Cyber attacks are flooding the news — email hacks by WikiLeaks, the arrest of a Glen Burnie defense contractor who allegedly posted classified documents online.

“We have a serious situation at NSA,” said Md. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.

It’s against that backdrop that the U.S. Naval Academy has dedicated its first new academic building in 40 years to cyber operations.

“It’s warfare at the speed of light,” said Md. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

The U.S. Naval Academy graduated its first midshipmen with majors in cyber operations this year.

“It’s not just a new type of warfare, it’s not just a new environment, this is the very air that we breathe. The computing power that’s in all of our young people — all of our hands now — is more powerful than the fighter jets that I flew 30 years ago, just in a single smart phone,” said Vice Admiral Ted Carter, USNA Superintendent.

The cyber program will be accredited in November.

“They’re going to be our cyber warriors of tomorrow,” said Ruppersberger.

The brick and mortar will take two years to complete.

The Naval Academy will be the first accredited undergraduate cyber operations degree in the United States.

The cost of the center is $106 million.

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